January 27th, 2012
03:45 PM ET
11 years ago

Space execs hope to rocket Romney

(CNN) - Eight former space executives threw their support behind Mitt Romney Friday, hoping to boost the candidate in a state with enormous stakes in America's space program.

In an open letter, the leaders said Romney was the candidate best positioned to reignite a program they said had languished under President Barack Obama.

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"Restoring the U.S. space program to greatness will require the leadership, management skill, and commitment to American exceptionalism possessed by only one candidate in this race: Mitt Romney," the group wrote in their letter.

In 2010, Obama announced he would cut NASA's lunar program from the federal budget, and focus more on exploration of deeper space. The space shuttle program officially ended in July 2011 with the launch of the shuttle Atlantis. Obama has advocated more private spacecraft for missions closer to Earth.

In their letter, Romney's space supporters described Obama's management of NASA as lacking "purpose or vision or mission."

"This failure of leadership has thrust the space program into disarray and triggered a dangerous erosion of our technical workforce and capabilities," the space leaders wrote. "In short, we have a space program unworthy of a great nation."

The letter also made a point of portraying Romney as realistic about America's space program, a point Romney himself made at Thursday's CNN Florida Republican Presidential Debate.

At the debate, Romney slammed rival Newt Gingrich for proposing expensive space plans in Florida, saying the former House speaker was pandering to the crowd with a vested interest in space investments.

"This idea of going state to state and promising what people want to hear, promising billions, hundreds of billions of dollars to make people happy, that's what got us into the trouble we're in now," Romney said.

The executives backing Romney are Scott Pace, director of the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University, USSpace Chairman Mark Albrecht, Space Adventures CEO Eric Anderson, Apollo XVII Commander Gene Cernan, former shuttle pilot Bob Crippen, former NASA Administrator Michael Griffin, former National Security Council Director of Space Policy Peter Marquez, and Tufts University Professor William Martel.

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Filed under: 2012 • Florida • Mitt Romney
soundoff (111 Responses)
  1. Jeoffrey

    Why is it the the orgrinal enginering plans for for the apollo saturn % rockets were destroyed

    January 27, 2012 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  2. Chris

    Isnt hthis money better than giving it to solyndra ? Also, the space money as I understand is from private agency – its not like we need to foot the bill !

    I dont understand if we are electing a president or a father to a church or a priest to a temple ? President really has no rights to any of these laws. They are upto the house/senate.

    Mitt has policies very similar to Pres Obama and hence has no real weight. Newt has some past history with many including republicans who are trying to side Mitt. He appears better than all others

    January 27, 2012 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  3. Mark

    Space exploration is one of Americas greatest accomplishments, at this time we do need to put the brakes on
    spending but, NASA is a relatively small part of the budget. The moon colony idea Gingrich is advocatinng for
    is not the right thing to do rightnow. Rememeber that NASA crashed probes into the moon a couple of years ago
    to test for minerals and water, and what was found was nothing new. We know most of what is on the moon
    the bigger picture is beyond. I keep wondering why we didn't just build a couple of new, more modern shuttles.
    Same format but updated. Then we could still sevice the ISS and other missions and not have to "outsource" our
    space program to other countries.

    January 27, 2012 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  4. T'sah From Virginia

    â–ºTRENDING: Space execs hope to rocket Romney
    That’s right; send him right into space for all to see
    The rocket FLIP and FLOP while up in the air
    As he soars in space in that rocket to NOWHERE!

    January 27, 2012 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  5. TJeff1776

    Romney does have a more balanced approach. Certainly a line MUST be drawn between space needs AND our overall budget. Gingrich's placing a colony on the moon is doable BUT at what expense ??? Can one imagine in her/her wildest nightmares transporting food, water, etc etc etc. The U. S. would go broke on this one project. Like Romney, if this Gingrich bug came up with this as a serious undertaking, need to quickly pin him to the ground until the boys in white arrive. Actually Gingrich has already done enough damage in multiple other areas of life that qualifies him for the nuthouse. Amen.

    January 27, 2012 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  6. Liz the First

    But guys, repubs don't believe in science! they probably want to go to the moon so they can bring back some green cheese and sell it.

    January 27, 2012 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  7. Aaron

    They could do the country a favor and jettison the Repub candidates plus Palin, Bachmann, Rove, and Cheney to outer space now.

    January 27, 2012 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  8. Mike

    Didn't Romney say that messing with Space was an scheme, during 1/27 debate? This tore at my soul a bit........you must admit right?

    January 27, 2012 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  9. Mike Botwin

    Those contractors are smelling Republican money from Gordon Gekko.

    January 27, 2012 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  10. ken

    Who are the wealthy,Are not these the people you work for? I know not all are the wealthiest. It's investors that have the money. It's people that play the stocks and know how to doit. Yea you can knock the wealthiest down but don't be supprised when you lose your job.

    January 27, 2012 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  11. AE

    "Truth & nothing Butt," you're an idiot and you match so well with the republican party these days, do the gods Koch brothers talk straight to you or is it just fox ((news))???

    January 27, 2012 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  12. Kevin

    So we're broke, and there's no more money to waste on frivolous things... But we're going to keep going to the moon just to thumb our noses at the Chinese for potentially going there 40 years after we did?

    What kind of infantile pr_ck-waving mentality is that?

    January 28, 2012 12:19 am at 12:19 am |
  13. MoeL

    Key word here...EXECS...you all know EXECS...the people who are totally scre wing all of the middle class/poor in this country. I would rather see that HUGE amount of money, at this period in time, go for middle class/poor, would like to see middle class come back. There will be another time to devote time and money to the space program, right now, as far as I am concerned...the money is needed here on EARTH.

    January 28, 2012 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  14. fedup99

    Pretty stupid basis for these guys to support a republican when you know the facts. Facts are that the cancellation of the space shuttle effort which accounted for the bulk of the NASA maned space effort in Florida was done under Bush and time framed to happen after he left office. Another bunch of crap the republicans actually did and try to blame on the democrats.
    When all the money was gone trying to save the rich big business people like Romney, and two ridiculous wars, there wasn't any money to do anything with the NASA effort in FL. I live there and Im an engineer. Its not Obamas fault. This is just more revisionist history being championed by the republicans.

    January 28, 2012 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  15. mfx3

    Obama has flat-out failed to advance our space program, in part because NASA has flat-out failed to outline an agenda and budget. NASA's administrators have failed our nation's space program, and the result is a program nobody believes in or cares about anymore. That said, Romney and the GOP will certainly cut the entire program out of the budget to please the tea party and similar conservative extremists.

    January 28, 2012 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  16. MoeL

    Keep the money here on EARTH where it is needed, especially in America at this point in time. President Obama is totally right on this issue.

    January 28, 2012 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  17. mecambridge

    Romney just said he would do nothing because he preferred to spend the money building houses. What is with people or do these old guard worry that the private sector infusion of cash and intelligence under Newt's plan would rock their established positions?

    January 28, 2012 12:39 am at 12:39 am |
  18. tffl

    I'd be more impressed if fewer of these "executives" had financial or professional stakes in the way things used to work. It makes it hard to take their comments as completely unbiased and forward looking.

    January 28, 2012 02:03 am at 2:03 am |
  19. frag

    The Republicans in Congress are screaming about the debt and slashing government spending.....................now they claim that the space program "languished" under Obama? You guys at CNN get the comedy central award for the biggest joke of the year so far! Funny, I don't remember anyone in Congress complaining about stopping the shuttle program, it was all just quiet tears and sobbing from NASA. The fall of the space program is another casualty of Iraq and the failed leadership of George Bush.

    January 28, 2012 02:29 am at 2:29 am |
  20. M.K.

    If anyone thinks spending billions [trillions?] to shoot sky rockets up in the air makes sense they have to be nutty as a fruit cake. The same folks that want to waste money on that foolishness raise hell if one dollar is spent on health care for the poor.

    January 28, 2012 02:37 am at 2:37 am |
  21. Shelby

    Whoo hoo! Romney for a blast-off win in the great state of Florida!

    January 28, 2012 03:27 am at 3:27 am |
  22. Hark

    @ The Real/Fake Tom Paine- I believe funding for the US space program would come from the private sector, not taxpayer money. Please explain why that is so terrible. If that is the case, you wouldn't have to worry about budget cuts wiping out that gov't job of yours.

    January 28, 2012 04:26 am at 4:26 am |
  23. Hark

    @ G I Joe- Enough with this raising taxes on the Wealthy mantra you guys keep regurgitating. There is not enogh $ in the hands of the wealthy to get us out of this mess if you taxed them 100%. This is a bunch of Obamas and the democrats effort to Continue this class warfare crap....its his only chance at re-election. You guys voted this wart into office and 3 years later he's still writing checks we can't cash . No more BS from him, vote the P_ _ _ _ _ out!

    January 28, 2012 04:34 am at 4:34 am |
  24. arlindsay

    It's the usual cast of characters who hate the president's plan to privatize access to low earth orbit. Like Newt, they characterize their narrow interests as "visionary".

    January 28, 2012 04:50 am at 4:50 am |
  25. John

    "Languish under Obama" huh? What a ridiculous statement! 1. in case they forget, the economy was in ruins. 2. it was Bush who cancelled the Shuttle program. 3. Obama has been 110% correct in getting NASA out of the courier service and back into the innovation business, which is what NASA is supposed to be doing.

    January 28, 2012 05:19 am at 5:19 am |
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